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Talks fail to yield accord at YSU



Published: Sat, September 10, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Robert Guttersohn

rguttersohn@vindy.com

Youngstown

Talks are expected to resume Monday between the Youngstown State University administration and faculty union leaders.

The two sides met for hours Friday but could not reach an agreement.

The university’s board of trustees meet Tuesday.

YSU spokesman Ron Cole would not say whether the trustees will vote to impose the contract.

In considering the current and future financial situation, “all options are on the table,” he said.

Stan Guzell, the YSU Ohio Education Association’s chief negotiator, said he believed the university will impose its last, best offer as a contract.

“When people negotiate, they look for ways to find a solution,” Guzell said. “But [the administration] just keeps saying, ‘We’re holding. We’re holding. We’re holding.’”

Both sides say there are still several areas of disagreement, but health insurance was the issue debated most Friday.

YSU-OEA President Julia Gergits said the union is in “concessionary mode” and understands it will be paying more in health insurance, but the university would not specify premium costs for years two and three of the contract.

“That’s not how a contracts works,” she said. “We understand that the costs will go up, but we would like to see how much we’ll be paying.”

Cole would not go into detail on the negotiating process.

“The board has made it very clear the last best offer is the bottom line for the university,” Cole said.

Cole said union proposals have exceeded the university’s stated bottom line for cuts by more than $1 million. The union maintained it has conceded $1 million in health-care costs alone.

In the university’s offer, faculty members would pay 10 percent of the cost of health-insurance premiums. That amount would increase to 12 percent in the second year and 15 percent in the contract’s third year.

Under the old contract, which expired Aug. 17, members paid 1.5 percent of their salaries for a family-plan health insurance and 0.75 percent for a single plan.

To Gergits, the health-care negotiation was key to moving the negotiations forward.

“We felt if we had progress in one place and then we could use it to make progress in the other areas,” Gergits said.

Faculty members have worked more than three weeks without a contract. The two sides began talks at 10 a.m. Friday at Cushaw Hall, a week after talks also ended with no agreement.

A fact finder’s report issued in August called for raises of 0 percent, 1 percent and 2 percent and a smaller reduction in summer-school pay. The union accepted the report, but YSU trustees rejected it.

Two weeks ago, the union rejected the university’s last best offer of 0 percent, 0 percent and 2 percent in raises and a reduction in summer pay from 3.75 percent of nine-month salary per credit hour to 3 percent salary per credit hour.

The union rejected the university’s offer and said its members would strike. Hours later, the union backtracked and said it would not strike and, instead, return to the bargaining table. That allowed the semester to begin on schedule Aug. 29 as well as the distribution of student financial aid.

The union would not say if members would vote to strike if the university imposed the contract.

“We believe there is still room for more talks,” Guzell said.


Comments

1nadinejones(1 comment)posted 3 years, 2 months ago


Starting this year your child (or children) cannot be denied coverage simply because they have a pre-existing health condition. If you don't have insurance for you and your children search "Penny Health" online they are the best.

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2Guin96(40 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

YSU-OEA President Julia Gergits said the union is in “concessionary mode” and understands it will be paying more in health insurance, but the university would not specify premium costs for years two and three of the contract.

“That’s not how a contracts works,” she said. “We understand that the costs will go up, but we would like to see how much we’ll be paying.”

I would like to ask Juia Gergis this. How is the administration expected to know what the cost of the premium will be in years 2 and 3. Do you know what the cost of your house insurance will be 2 and 3 years from now? your car insurance? the cost of milk? the cost of gasoline? Is it really too much to ask of the employees that they pay 15 percent of the cost (whatever it is, whether it stays the same, gets higher or gets lower)? They are still getting a bargain by paying only 15 percent of the cost of a very good health care plan. Maybe if they don't want to pay so much for health care, they should give the employees the choice of opting for lower cost health plans that pay lesser levels of coverage.

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3Boar7734(66 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Guin96 is right. Whilst I support elimination of SB5 unless this Linkon / Russo debacle ends I will consider a vote yes. Professional college teachers do not need a union and should be judged on their own merits. How about we also void dependant coverage to those at YSU who have direct coverage of a full time worker at their own employer. Cherry picking lowest cost to family cost the taxpayers who pay at least 25% for coverage. Private sector who have self pay plans use this approach. Let's run state institutions like a business of P & L. How do you like me now?

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4Guin96(40 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

abcezas123, I would really like to understand your point of view on this. Why does anything have to be estimated? Isn't it reasonable to ask employees to pay 15% of the premium (whatever it happens to be)? If the costs skyrocket in years 2 and 3, why should the employer have to foot the entire cost of the increase? I know that the health care plan at YSU is excellent and includes vision and dental coverage and drugs with low copays and out of pocket payments. 15% seems a small amount to pay for such a top of the line health care package. I want to support the faculty and I know no one wants to give up anything they currently have, but these are hard economic times and I am having a difficult time understanding what's going on here. Seems like a bargain to me. Also, didn't the fact finder recommend a 15% employee payment and didn't the faculty vote to accept it? If faculty are unwilling to pay 15% for the top of the line plan, maybe both sides could agree to a less costly insurance package (with reduced coverage)?

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5firestar275(1 comment)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Administration knew that cost goes up every year on insurance, and yet they chose to build 11million dallar building. Insted of keeping the health insurance for there hard working staff that put in more hours than most working people .They also have the lowest cost for in comparison to other colleges. I'm a student at YSU, and in order to keep good staff you have to treat them fairly.
This idea that everyone can be replaced has alowed for people to be treated unfairly. While adminastraters rake in millions. A company can not work well without happy, caring,and loyal workers. So do the right thing give teachers the wages, and insurance that they deserve. Also, administraters if you can't budget with knowing these issues in advance than you need to be replaced!!!!

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6Guin96(40 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the clarification abcezas123. I understand your point now and can see how this is a sticking point for the faculty. I agree it is only right that any contributions faculty make toward health care premiums go toward health care and nothing else.

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7Philo(99 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

This is a prime example of why any thinking individual who is privately employed and pays taxes should vote to support SB 5. In fact, public sector unions should be outlawed entirely. I have a choice of which private business's I want to patronize but I don't have that same privilige when it comes to any branch of the government. Fortunately, there have been enough outrageous examples of the public sector employees taking advantage of the taxpayers that when the television commercials start airing a majority of the voters will be sickened by these antics and they'll vote to keep SB 5 in place, just like the voters in Wisconsin did.

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8Philo(99 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Opponents of State Issue 2 don't want to reform Ohio. They enjoy the old system that gives union bosses – instead of you, the taxpayer – control of our schools and services. They take millions of our tax dollars every year directly out of government employee paychecks and spend that money rewarding politicians who protect their power. It's killing our state, breaking our budgets and costing us jobs. To contribute to keep SB 5 in place go to BetterOhio.org

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